Lewis Hamilton has dedicated his Malaysian Grand Prix victory to the passengers and their relatives of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disaster, which disappeared on March 8th with 239 people on board travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Hamilton claimed his first win at the Sepang International Circuit on Sunday with a faultless performance that saw him finish 17 seconds ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg. The one-two for Mercedes was the team’s first since the 1955 Italian Grand Prix, whilst Hamilton – with pole position, fastest lap, the race win and having led every lap – claimed his first grand slam.
“Incredible, incredible,” said Hamilton on the podium after the race. “After such a difficult weekend, such a long winter, we’ve got a great crowd here today and for Petronas who work so hard with Mercedes to give us this win.
“I just feel so grateful, and particularly after such a tragedy three weeks ago.
“I’d really like to dedicate this to those people and their families.”
The Formula 1 community also honored those lost on flight MH370 before the race with one minute of silence before the Malaysian national anthem was sung. During such a dark period in Malaysia’s history, the sport has looked to bring some light to the nation this weekend.
Hamilton explained after the race how the hot and humid conditions made the win difficult, but he thanked the team for their hard work across the course of the weekend.
“Today you’re sweating already before you get into the car, so it’s really trying to keep your body as cool as possible and keep your focus,” he said. “The team were just spot on with all the pit stops and cooling and timing, and also the info I was getting, it was just spot on.”
“What a great car, what a great job from everyone.”
MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. The 2017 season behind the wheel was better for Ed Carpenter than either of the last two years, but still wasn’t ideal results-wise in his six oval starts.
Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
- 2016: 25th Place (5 Starts), Best Finish 18th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10, 1 Lap Led, 11.2 Avg. Start, 21.8 Avg. Finish
- 2017: 22nd Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish
Ed Carpenter’s 2017 season was largely one of frustration, both behind the wheel and as a team owner.
While a respectable turnaround in results occurred – Carpenter finished between seventh and 12th in five of his six oval races after a nightmare season of ending 18th or worse in each of his 2016 starts – this is still not what he sets out to strive for in the races he does. Lost opportunities loomed larger than any official result he or the Ed Carpenter Racing team achieved.
Carpenter and new teammate JR Hildebrand, in for the departed Josef Newgarden, dominated preseason testing in Phoenix but Hildebrand could only muster third in the race, Carpenter a season-best seventh. Then at Indianapolis, Carpenter (second) and Hildebrand (sixth) flew the flag for Chevrolet in qualifying and practice pace, but they fell to 11th and 16th on race day owing to a front-wing change and late-race penalty for passing before a restart.
Both drivers got collected in incidents at Texas. Hildebrand qualified and finished a season-best second in Iowa but that result came only after the ECR crew rebuilt his car from a crash in practice. Then Carpenter had a practice crash in Pocono and despite a rapid rebuild, they missed the clock to qualify by mere minutes and were unable to do so. Carpenter’s spin on a slick Gateway track at the start of the race sent him over Will Power’s nose assembly in one of the scarier looking incidents of the year, although fortunately he was OK.
In a similar refrain as we often write, it’s not that Carpenter’s lost his ability to drive and he remains one of the series’ savviest and smartest people in the paddock. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances of late, and it almost felt as though this team had “empty nest” components. Since September, Carpenter has had to secure his team’s future with a move away from its Speedway, Ind. shop, line up Spencer Pigot for a full-time drive replacing Hildebrand in the No. 21 car, find a new road/street course driver in the No. 20 car, and manage both driving and owning himself.